Everything we know about the iPhone 13: Leaks, rumors, release date, and more
The iPhone 13 is not far away – here’s what we know about it so far.
The launch date for Apple’s iPhone 13 lineup is inching ever closer, and the rumor mill is buzzing along. We think we know most of the upcoming upgrades, but then Apple never confirms anything officially, and all we have is the word of usually-reliable leakers.
That said, dummy devices have shown up, and so have phone cases and screen protectors, as the third-party accessory makers will have had dimensions of the new iPhone 13 range for some time now. They’re always a reliable indicator of the sizing and layout of things like the buttons, so we have a pretty solid picture of the iPhone 13 in all its glory.
Here’s everything we could find in leakland about the iPhone 13. We’ll add more as it gets uncovered in the days before Apple’s official reveal.
Most of the changes are under the hood
Design-wise, the iPhone 13 won’t have many changes from the iPhone 12. The screens are the same sizes, the camera module is in the same place, and there will still be a notch in the screen, albeit a smaller one. Dummy units shown on Weibo confirm this, including a slight change in the camera orientation. Instead of in-line like the iPhone 12, the iPhone 13 looks to have diagonally-arranged camera lenses. Digitimes backs this up by saying the Face ID scanner is shrinking by 40-50%, making space to extend the screen.
The top speaker is moving higher towards the edge of the chassis, the SIM card is apparently moving further down to make room for more battery, and the power buttons are moving down as well. Leaked screen protectors show the notch, and the speaker changes off well.
Expect storage options from 64GB to 512GB across both the standard and Pro lines. Expect Qualcomm’s X60 5G modem, as the settlement between Qualcomm and Apple showed that they were working together to integrate the more power-efficient modem into a future device.
Oh, and the iPhone 13 seems to be thicker than the iPhone 12, based on the dummy units.
The camera bump is umm… getting a bump (in specs)
The cameras on the iPhone 13 range will be improved over the current specs, with a mix of hardware and software features. Portrait mode will work on video, powered by the LiDAR sensors on the back of the Pro models. It’s unclear at this stage if the standard and mini versions will also get this feature.
ProRes recording on the Pro models will be a big step forward, making the iPhone 13 Pro a viable alternative for more expensive cameras for videographers. That also keeps them in Apple’s ecosystem, as Final Cut Pro is designed to work most efficiently with that video format.
Depending on which rumors you believe, sensor-shift stabilization is either going to be on all four iPhone 13 models or possibly on at least two (likely the Pro models). That tech is already on the iPhone 12 line, but only on the Wide lens on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The ultrawide sensor on at least the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max will get autofocus, something sorely missing from the current models. The rest of the iPhone range will not get this tech until the iPhone 14 arrives, though, something to keep in mind if you wanted one of the cheaper handsets.
Unbox Therapy showed off some dummy handsets that showed much larger camera lenses. That implies larger sensors, with either larger pixels or more pixels for better light sensitivity. That should give better image quality, but we’re not sure which of the iPhone 13 models will get these improvements. Maybe it’s better to assume the Pro models only at this stage.
Ming-Chi Kuo has also previously said that the ultra-wide cameras will get a larger aperture, going to f/1.8 from the f/2.4 on the iPhone 12. That will also improve the amount of light hitting the sensor, giving the image processor more data to work with, improving image quality.
We might see a dedicated Astrophotography mode in the Camera app, enabling night sky images that previously only Google Pixel owners could reliably capture. This might be enough for me to upgrade on its own.
Power and battery
The iPhone 13 lineup will likely have larger batteries than the current iPhone 12 range, with the entire range getting hefty increases. Yes, these are still rumored capacity increases, but if true, that means the iPhone 13 Pro could have over 18 hours of battery life. That’s another hour of usage over the iPhone 12 Pro, or maybe even more if Apple squeezes some more performance out of iOS 15 before the official release.
Charging might be the same 20W max that the iPhone 12 has, although a slightly-sketch source says Apple might increase that to 25W. That’s nowhere near the fast charging offered by companies like Xiaomi or Oppo, but it’s a start.
Apple recently got a new patent granted for a MagSafe charging cable that connects to the iPhone like how the old MacBook Pro chargers worked. It’s probably too early for it to be used on the iPhone 13, but if it does, it will likely replace the Lightning port with yet another proprietary Apple connector.
It’s a fair bet that the iPhone 13 range will be powered by Apple’s own A15 chip. I mean, they increase the SoC number every generation, so that’s a given. What’s different is that Apple has reportedly ordered 100 million A15 Bionic chips, up from the 75 million they usually order for the new iPhone range. Don’t expect huge differences over the A14 in the iPhone 12 range though, as the iPhone 14 is when Apple might go to the next process node, which will bring more efficiency and power.
Some rumors keep surfacing about Apple bringing Touch ID to the iPhone 13, either as an under-screen scanner or in the power button. We can’t see it coming to the iPhone 13, but maybe next year’s iPhone 14 will herald the return of Touch ID.
An always-on screen feature could well be coming to the iPhone 13, like the one on the Apple Watch. That’s possible because Apple is supposedly using OLED for all four iPhone 13 models.
We’re still holding our breath for Apple to announce 120Hz ProMotion screens, like the one in the iPad Pro range. That would be fantastic, as anyone who’s used a higher refresh rate screen on their mobile device can attest to.
How many are in the range
As it stands, analysis of supply chains shows that the same four device sizes from the iPhone 12 range will be in the iPhone 13 range. That’s the mini at 5.4-inches, a standard and Pro in 6.1-inches, and a 6.7-inch Pro Max.
We might see four color options for the iPhone 13 Pro range, black, silver, rose gold, and sunset gold. We’re less sure about the color options for the standard iPhone and the mini, but with six colors in the existing lineup, it’s fair to assume that many are on the iPhone 13. White, black, and (project) Red won’t be changing, and purple was a very recent addition, but Apple does like to change things up every release so expect either blue or green to get swapped out for a new color.
iPhone 13 release date
Unlike last year, when Apple said it was delaying things by a month, we’ve heard no such rumors this year. That means the iPhone 13 launch event should be on track for the usual September period. That’s backed up by Ming-Chi Kuo, who says that the iPhone 13 will be back to the usual schedule.
Whether or not you’ll be actually able to buy one at launch is another story. Major tech manufacturers are struggling to fulfill backorders, let alone put enough units on shelves for retail. At least Apple has a fairly robust queuing system, so you’ll be able to order, even if you have to wait for it to ship.
Apple’s pricing for the iPhone range hasn’t really changed much since the iPhone 11 range, so expect similar prices this year. Yes, 2021 has been terrible for component shortages and prices, but Apple wants units sold, so it might eat some of its margins to keep the pricing structure static.
The bottom line
Whatever the final specifications turn out to be, the iPhone is always a value proposition. That’s partly because they hold their resale value more than any other smartphone. It’s also because iOS is a similar experience on any of their handsets, so the upgrading path is fairly trouble-free.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering if you should wait for the iPhone 14 and all of its rumored specifications? The real question is: do you need a new smartphone right now? If so, it’s never a bad idea to look at the newest iPhone currently available.
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